With the development of Bexhill’s East Parade, in 1883, Lord Cantelupe, the 8th Earl De La Warr, (one of the two main founders of Bexhill in the late 1880s) laid out this area as leisure gardens to be enjoyed by all.
He named it, “Cantelupe Gardens” and the green space, following the fashions of the day, became a croquet lawn In 1899, the Park was taken over by the Bexhill Croquet Club, who, in 1903, held a national tournament there.
It continued with tournaments up until the outbreak of the Second World War but, afterwards, when hostilities were over, the game was never revived in the town.
In 1952, a Charles Gulliver opened a bowling green on the site and, in 1954, built an indoor bowling pavilion.
The gallery above shows:-
1 a photograph of a croquet game being played in the Gardens, c1899.
2 a fancy postcard, c1901, with a photograph taken of the Gardens, taken by Emil Vieler, a local Bexhill photographer.
3 an extract from the Bexhill Chronicle, dated 10th September 1910, with pictures of some of the well-known players of the time.
Top row – left to right
1 – Lord Tollemache
2 – Miss A. E. Kent
3 – A group of workers, Mr A. Saxby Hurst (Hon. Sec.), Capt. W. Dixon Green (Referee and Handicapper), Mr Bennett, Sir C. B. Locock, and Mr H. C. Ladbury
4 – Miss S. Hichins
5 – Mr G. Ashmore
Bottom row – left to right
6 – Sir C. B. Locock
7 – Mrs Talbot
8 – Mr C. H. C. Du Cane
9 – Mrs F. W. Seaman
10 – Miss B. Chester
11 – Rev F. S. Stoney